ATLANTA — Pablo Lopez’s opportunity for redemption and the Miami Marlins’ need for a critical win converged on Thursday.
It was at this ballpark, three starts and 15 days ago, that Lopez took the mound and had the worst start of his three-year career as a Major League Baseball pitcher. The Atlanta Braves shelled him for seven runs over 1 2/3 innings that day. He gave up four hits and walked four more to set the stage for one of the worst loss in Marlins’ history, a 29-9 defeat at Truist Park.
It has also been at this ballpark, over the last three days, that the Marlins failed to help their cause in their playoff hunt with time and games quickly running out. They gave up early leads on Monday and Wednesday and were blown out on Tuesday as Atlanta clinched its third consecutive divisional title.
Lopez would not allow the Braves to have a repeat performance like they did just over two weeks ago. The offense, immediately after Lopez walked off the mound, made sure the Marlins would salvage the last opportunity they had in this series.
Final score: Marlins 4, Braves 2.
The Marlins improve to 29-28 with three games left in this 60-game season. They have a one-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies (28-29) for second place in the National League East. The top two teams in each division plus the next best two teams in each league advance to the postseason this year.
Miami’s magic number to secure that second-place spot is two.
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